Small Fries

Written by Mary Ann Fitzmorris May 27, 2020 05:00 in Dining Diary

One of the plans we made since lockdown is to get more adventurous with our cooking. We admit to needing some help, which is the purpose of our Ask The Chef segment in the new show. 


On the old show we had Susan Spungen, the first food stylist for Martha Stewart’s magazine, on to talk about her new cookbook, Open Kitchen: Inspired Food For Casual Gatherings, There are so many beautiful pictures in this book I want to make everything. We did make a cheese souffle that was less than we expected, but I blame myself for that. And ML blames me more. It was good, just not as good as it looked.


We decided to try the oven french fries recipe with sweet potatoes and white ones. All fries in this house start with the Kitchen Magician, which with the turn of a crank gets you perfectly uniform thin bistro fries. The recipe here called for duck fat as a coating, but olive oil is allowed. Though I do want to try duck fat because I have recently seen it on the shelf at Acquistapace's.


I had my doubts about this plan when the fries went into the oven until ML explained that this is an hour project, requiring a break at 45 minutes in for seasonings. Instead of doing the Sloppy Joes first, I should have done it the other way around. Next time I'll reverse it because there definitely will be a next time. When an hour was up the fries came out crispy, and I do mean crispy. Mary Leigh didn’t like them, and at first bite I was underwhelmed. The second bite turned me and I couldn’t stop eating them.

Tom always sneers at fries and often eats the most. 


My mother, who never met a canned product she didn’t love, had shoestring potato snacks the kids ate when they visited. These were very thin, very crispy, and salty. The fries yesterday reminded me of these shoestring potatoes, but much better. There was a bit of an inconsistency where some of the shoestrings were not done. They were flaccid and boring. But eaten with the crispier ones it all worked. 


These were better than deep fried potatoes, safer, and a little less work. But they are certainly more unconventional, and a little misunderstood. Maybe the Kitchen Magician makes them too thin, and a mandolin would make them better? 

It bears experimentation, which I welcome.